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Representing and reasoning about goals and policies of agents

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Goal specification is an important aspect of designing autonomous agents. A goal does not only refer to the set of states for the agent to reach. A goal also defines

Goal specification is an important aspect of designing autonomous agents. A goal does not only refer to the set of states for the agent to reach. A goal also defines restrictions on the paths the agent should follow. Temporal logics are widely used in goal specification. However, they lack the ability to represent goals in a non-deterministic domain, goals that change non-monotonically, and goals with preferences. This dissertation defines new goal specification languages by extending temporal logics to address these issues. First considered is the goal specification in non-deterministic domains, in which an agent following a policy leads to a set of paths. A logic is proposed to distinguish paths of the agent from all paths in the domain. In addition, to address the need of comparing policies for finding the best ones, a language capable of quantifying over policies is proposed. As policy structures of agents play an important role in goal specification, languages are also defined by considering different policy structures. Besides, after an agent is given an initial goal, the agent may change its expectations or the domain may change, thus goals that are previously specified may need to be further updated, revised, partially retracted, or even completely changed. Non-monotonic goal specification languages that can make these changes in an elaboration tolerant manner are needed. Two languages that rely on labeling sub-formulas and connecting multiple rules are developed to address non-monotonicity in goal specification. Also, agents may have preferential relations among sub-goals, and the preferential relations may change as agents achieve other sub-goals. By nesting a comparison operator with other temporal operators, a language with dynamic preferences is proposed. Various goals that cannot be expressed in other languages are expressed in the proposed languages. Finally, plans are given for some goals specified in the proposed languages.

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Date Created
  • 2010